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Possible itineraries for Miami, Key West, St. Augustine, Tallahassee

Possible itineraries for Miami, Key West, St. Augustine, Tallahassee

Mar 17th, 2011, 02:01 PM
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Possible itineraries for Miami, Key West, St. Augustine, Tallahassee

Am considering a visit to one or more possible Florida destinations in the somewhat foreseeable future (no specifics as to exactly when, but will avoid hurricane season), perhaps as many as four cities total. Have drawn up possible itineraries for all four, and may see as many as all four or as few as none, depending. Would be interested in feedback that keeps in mind the following:

--I like several different kinds of attractions, especially museums and historic houses/structures of all kinds. Not a big fan of strictly child-based attractions, though.

--will not have a car. For Miami, will use only buses and light rail options, and have researched how to use them, as well as walking. Am pretty much planning to be on foot otherwise.

--I like, and have consistently been very successful with, very-full-plate days. Starting early, going without an extended food break (like lunch), and continuing until 5pm (or later, if possible) is ideal. Seeing several art museums or historic houses in a row is also fine with me.

--I have already done my best to consult maps (to clump attractions reasonably together) and take into account opening/closing times and days.

--suggesting any attractions I've overlooked.


Hoping to stay somewhere in South Beach.

One day
-Miami Cultural Center (Miami Art Museum, Historical Museum of Southern Florida)
-Lowe Art Museum

Another day (Sunday)
-Coral Gables Congregational Church
-Venetian Pool
-Merrick House and Gardens
-Biltmore Hotel Tour

Yet another day
-Barnacle Historic State Park
-Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
-Miami Science Museum

And another day (South Beach)
-Holocaust Memorial
-Bass Museum of Art
-Sanford Ziff Jewish Museum
-World Erotic Art Museum

Am hoping to see a Florida Marlins game on one of the first three evenings (and will have to figure out a way to get to the stadium and back again without a car -- which may be tough). On another of these first three evenings, plan to do a lengthy stroll along South Beach to see the Art Deco architecture in detail, hopefully with a walking plan in hand.

St. Augustine

Hoping to stay near the historic district or up in the Old Jail area.

One day
-Authentic Old Jail and Florida Heritage Museum
-Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (yes, am aware this is considered a tourist trap, and no, will not drink the water there)
-Mission of Nombre de Dios
-Castillo de San Marcos
-Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse

Another day
-Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church
-Colonial Spanish Quarter
-Lightner Museum
-Government House Museum
-Spanish Military Hospital
-Dow Museum of Historic Houses (formerly Old St. Augustine)
-Oldest House

May have part of a third day here as well -- this is the strict two-day version. My impression is that several of these attractions would take an hour or less.

Key West

Hoping to stay somewhat south of the Duval Street/Old Town craziness.

One day
-Harry Truman Little White House
-Audubon House and Gardens
-Mel Fischer Maritime Heritage Museum
-Key West Aquarium
-Key West Shipwreck Museum
-Key West Museum of Art and History
-Pirate Soul

Another day
-City Cemetery
-Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
-Lighthouse Museum
-Ernest Hemingway House and Museum
-Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden
-Key West Heritage House Museum/Robert Frost House
-Oldest House/Wrecker's Museum

May have part of a third day here as well -- this is the strict two-day version. My impression is that several of these attractions would take an hour or less.


Hoping to stay downtown near the capitol complex.

One day (a weekday)
-New Capitol
-Union Bank Building
-Old Capitol
-FSU Fine Arts Museum
-Foster Tanner Arts Center (FAMU)
-Black Archives Research Center and Museum (FAMU)

Another day
-Museum of Florida History
-Mary Brogan Museum of Arts and Sciences
-Knott House
-Meginnis-Monroe House

Am hoping to walk through the Adams Street Commons, Park Avenue Historic District, and Calhoun Street Historic District as part of this itinerary (some of the historic houses are located in these districts). Again, am guessing most of these attractions won't take much longer than an hour to visit.
bachslunch is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 04:07 PM
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I would be interested to know how much total time you have as well as how you are getting from place to place. In Key West there are many great places to stay on Simonton (just a block off Duval) or near the Marina. You don't need a car in Key West, but it encompasses a much larger ara than you may think. Old Town is about 1 mile square (I think) and all of the Southernmost stuff is outside of that square. (As well as several of the places you plan to visit).
SAnParis2 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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bachslunch - I think your general agenda for Key West is good with a couple of exceptions: the aquarium is really geared more toward children, and Pirate Soul has closed. I think it moved to St. Augustine, though, so you might want to look for it there.

I strongly encourage you to do some more interactive things, like going on a sunset sail - there are many to choose from depending on the season - and maybe see a play. Key West has some remarkable actors for a place its size. Again, it depends on the time of year whether they're there.

There are lots of fun and funky things to do on Duval - some really good female impersonators do shows at La Te Da.

Here's a map of lodging in Key West. The far more convenient locations are in Old Town.

SusanCS is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 05:02 PM
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I think you can skip Tallahassee altogether. And no car in Florida?? Good luck with that part.

I would skip Tally and add the Sarasota area to get a feel for the west/Gulf side of Florida.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Hi bachslunch,

I've seen your prior trips to a variety of state capitals and enjoy reading about your travels. We like to travel I think in much the same way, using public transit options, even Greyhound if need be. However, I'm not as disciplined with my days as you are though, and I do treasure my lunch .

I'm no Florida expert, having only been to Miami and Key West of the four that you mention here. I know you write that you enjoy museums and historic homes... I do too. Nevertheless, I can't help but think though that when you actually get to Key West and Miami, that to get a flavour of both places, you might not want to be *inside* but rather *outside*. And I would also recommend being willing to throw away a structured agenda, say "forget my list" and allow yourself to be captivated by special moments, as in both places did I run across spur-of-the-moment events that were highlights of my trip.

I'd recommend renting a bike while you're in Key West to get around, if this appeals (a common way that people move around there). As much as the tours of Hemingway House and Heritage House were interesting, what charmed me more about Key West was watching the roosters, ibises, pelicans and multiple varieties of terns (and their antics) as I pedalled my bike along the side roads and bike paths adjacent the beaches turquoise water. The City Cemetery was interesting for its history, but I equally enjoyed walking the side streets admiring the architecture that I happened to pass. I'm glad I didn't miss the Mallory Square at Sunset ambience, the drag queens offering shooters on Duval Street and watching the tiny fish swimming at my feet in the waters of Fort Zachary Taylor beach.

My most memorable moments in Miami honestly were watching folks dance to Latin Music at Bayside Marketplace and eating at a little Nicaraguan hole-in-the-wall restaurant & taking in the ambience around me. My favorite event of yours in Miami is actually your stroll through South Beach!

Anyhow, I wish you a great trip however you decide to go about it!

Daniel_Williams is online now  
Mar 17th, 2011, 06:29 PM
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In Miami Beach is the Art Deco Historical District. That should be on your list. Pretty sure there is a visitors center too.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 07:14 PM
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Daniel - I agree. I, too, have read bachslunch's reviews and they're very detailed (and interesting!). If I were traveling to cities and wanted to get as much information as possible, I think I'd follow those reviews.

But Key West isn't a city, and the real beauty of it is what you stumble upon, not what you plan. The man who bicycles around town with a dog on his shoulder, the man whose pet iguana has a bandana around his neck, drag queens large and small, and random people who'll strike up a conversation with you at the drop of a hat.

What we love most is the live and let live vibe there. You can sit in a restaurant with a homeless person on one side and a billionaire on the other side, and everything is copacetic.

The Key West motto is "One Human Family," and I really feel that there.
SusanCS is offline  
Mar 18th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Thanks for the feedback -- much appreciated.

AustinTraveler, have already been to Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater, and Tarpon Springs and seen pretty much all the attractions in these cities/towns. Public transportation in Miami serves almost everything I would want to see there, and I've purposely not overloaded the days there to allow travel time. Maps I've consulted for Key West, St. Augustine, and Tallahassee suggest the attractions listed are within reasonable walking distance, and I'm a hearty walker anyway -- a couple miles hike doesn't phase me. Plus, I've already seen state capitol buildings in 28 states, so I've indeed got interest in Tallahassee.

SAnParis2, if all four cities are seen one after the other, will likely do so with a plane to Key West, then Greyhound buses between the rest. Schedules I've researched suggest this can be reasonably done, and I'm fine with sleeping on the bus on the longest stretch between Miami and St. Augustine -- I've done such things before on occasion. But nothing's set in stone yet, and I may see all four, none, or something in between.

SusanCS and Daniel, thanks for the kind words. My thought was that the "what you stumble on" and on-the-way architecture viewing in Key West and Miami would occur earlier and later than the itinerary listed (this is often a good time to wander without aim or relax on a porch to see sunsets), and also experienced on the way between attractions. Most attractions in Florida (except the later listed ones on the South Beach day) close between 5pm and 6pm, which leaves the whole evening free. Am prone to seasickness and cannot ride a bike, so these otherwise good ideas are out for me.

mrwunrfl, will indeed include a walk in the Art Deco District in Miami, probably in one of the free evenings on the itinerary.

SusanCS, many thanks for the tip about Pirate Soul moving to St. Augustine and for the info on the aquarium. Website says the former is open till 8pm most days, so that's not hard to fit in with the other city's itinerary.
bachslunch is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Hello- Miami Native here...born and raised. Your agenda for Miami is interesting and thought i'd comment on you not having a car. For South Beach only attractions you can get away with no car...but you are looking into attractions in the Gables and the Grove which are very far from South beach. Miami is not a city like New York where you can get to everything pretty quickly using public transit..everything is very spread out here and to top things off- we have the WORST public transportation system. Ive tried it for several years for my work commute and gave up on it as it just isnt very reliable. Busses are almost always late (traffic) and the Metro mover is soo old and run down that it didnt suprise me when it got stuck during transit. Or the AC was broken or the stupid token machine is broken and doesnt work so you have to run around and find one that works...its very unpleasant to deal with. And with everything being so spread out here in Miami- a Car is a Must-have...no doubt about it! Yes- our traffic sucks major arse...but its way better than using our public transportation system....and with Miami being severly hot year-round i wouldnt recommedn walking around all day in this heat...sometimes its good to have your car to run to and get some AC between sites. Plus- if you want to go see a Marlins game then i'd wait until the new stadium opens up in Little Havana which is much closer to SOBE than the current stadium. The Dolphins/Marlins stadium is in the middle of the ghetto and soooo far from South beach....I say skip the Marlins and go see the Miami HEAT as the AmericanAirlines Arena is much easier to get to from SOBE...plus its prettier too You can always go across the street to Bayside after the game too.

At the end, you do what you feel comfortable doing...but my suggestion is to rent a car even if its just for those 2 days explore areas away from SOBE...you wont regret it.
L_Garabito is offline  
Mar 21st, 2011, 02:06 PM
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You could visit the Governor's Mansion while you are in Tallahassee. It is about a mile from the Capitol Complex.

Too bad you won't have a car, as a visit to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park (about a 30-minute drive from downtown Tallahassee) is a step back into Old Florida.

I have not been to Mission San Luis but have heard it is interesting. Are you leaving it off because of the distance from other attractions (about 3 miles from the Capitol Complex)?

In St. Augustine, go by Flagler College. Ponce de Leon Hall is the former Ponce de Leon Hotel, a luxury hotel that was developed by Henry Flagler. Flagler (builder of the Florida East Coast Railway, father of Miami and Palm Beach, and co-founder of Standard Oil with John D. Rockefeller) is a huge figure in Florida history.
Cranachin is offline  
Mar 25th, 2011, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for the further feedback.

I've now discovered that in Key West, the Key West Heritage House Museum/Robert Frost House is closed to the public, so that's an attraction off the itinerary. It's also unclear if Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden is open these days -- will research this more. I may have time to include a visit to Ft. Zachary State Park, depending.

L_Garabito, thank you for suggesting the Miami Heat, but I'm not a basketball fan at all, and I'm further hoping at some point to have seen baseball games for every franchise sooner or later. Too bad about the Marlins still being in old Dolphin Stadium. We'll see what develops.

Cranachin, many thanks for the info. In St. Augustine re Flagler College -- hopefully I can include it along the way as a look-in, as it seems close by the Lightner Museum. Re Tallahassee: will check into the Governor's Mansion to see if it's feasible to include -- and on further investigation, the city bus does appear to go out to where Mission San Luis is located from downtown, so will do some further investigating. Looks like both Wakulla Springs and Maclay State Gardens need a car to visit, so they're out.
bachslunch is offline  
Mar 28th, 2011, 02:43 PM
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The new Marlins stadium is scheduled to open for the 2012 season...so i suggest you wait, if you could, til then to see a game. The new stadium looks beautiful...i drive by it all the time and see the progress little by little- they just finished putting the movable roof in and it looks really neat!
The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County have invested millions of dollars into the new state-of-the-art stadium (after much protest) but honestly, it will look amazing by the time it finishes and finally the Marlins will have an official home.
L_Garabito is offline  
Mar 29th, 2011, 10:54 AM
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bachslunch - I checked this morning, and Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden is still open.
SusanCS is offline  
Apr 13th, 2011, 08:32 AM
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Traveling to St. Augustine this weekend but will not be at a beachfront propoerty. I'm looking for recommendations re. some beach time & any other interesting activities, restaurants or general entertainment. Thanks
HWPHELPS is offline  
Apr 13th, 2011, 05:50 PM
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The core of the old city in St Augustine is pedestrian-friendly, and really oriented to walking. However, St Augustine Beach is a couple of miles away. Not sure about public transportation, but you might look into it on your visit.
bookhall is offline  
Apr 28th, 2011, 04:56 PM
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St Augustine was a homerun in our books. I recommend checking out the Fort, Old Jail & Do Not miss out on the full tour of Flagler College. Fantastic architecture & history. Lot's of very cool shops off St. George St. & we never had a bad meal. I recommend, Harry's, Caps, The Columbian & Raintree to name a few. Do the tasting at San Sebastian winery & if in town Fri-Sun definitely check out the roof top Jazz & Tapas. Natueally if your a golfer, The World Golf Hall of Fame has to be on your list.
HWPHELPS is offline  
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